Thomas Murphy - Pine Shores Real Estate



Posted by Thomas Murphy on 7/14/2019

Deciding on flooring for your home sounds boring. No one wants to research and compare all the different options, but the floors get used more than just about everything else in your home. So, spending some time looking into what flooring will be the best value for you is a wise investment of time. Get ready to take on an adventure of comparing and sorting through all the different flooring options in today’s market. 

No Flying Carpets Here

Carpeting may seem like a simple choice, when in fact there is a lot to consider when it comes to wall-to-wall carpeting. Determine where you would like to use carpet, and how much traffic there will be on a daily basis. Some types of carpeting such as loped Berber handle high traffic flow well. Carpet made from nylon, a man-made material, is excellent for heavy usage areas. Other carpet materials such as wool and olefin are also high traffic area carpet materials that give you a good value for your dollars spent. The straight cut pile and plush styles of carpeting are both softer then loop and are great for bedrooms and lighter traffic areas. 

Knock on Wood; or Something Like It

If you or your family member suffer from allergies carpeting may not be the best choice; in that case, you certainly may want to look into hardwood or engineered wood. Hardwood, as the name implies, is durable wood planks. This option comes in lots of color and shade choices but can be costly for larger projects. Hardwood is easy to clean and a substantial long-term investment. Engineered wood is a durable choice and a bit less expensive than hardwood. Moisture can cause hardwood to warp over time, whereas engineered wood can handle the humidity a bit better. 

Not Your Grandparent’s Laminate

Laminate flooring is the least expensive out of the above choices can also be advantageous to a household with allergies. Also, easily cleaned and maintained, but resistant to fading, laminate comes in a wide selection and design options. You can acquire a laminate that looks like hardwood or other higher-end flooring materials while keeping within a modest budget. With laminate materials you can be creative with color and patterns, adding a custom look to any room. 

Look through open houses in your area and see what kind of flooring choices others have used throughout their homes.




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Posted by Thomas Murphy on 7/7/2019

A home inspection is a vital part of every real estate transaction. Its importance is usually solidified in a purchase contract in the form of a contingency clause.

Whenever you buy or sell a home, the transaction is typically contingent upon a few things being fulfilled. Inspections help protect the buyer from purchasing a home that they believed didn’t have any major issues.

For buyers, an inspection can save you thousands in the long run. For sellers, getting a preemptive inspection done (on your own dime) can be useful since it will help you avoid any surprises that could arise when a potential buyer has your home inspected.

Hiring a home inspector

Regardless of whether you’re the buyer or the seller in this instance, hiring a home inspector isn’t something you should take lightly. You’ll want to confer with your agent before you pick an inspector.

It’s also a good idea to check out some online reviews and visit the inspector’s website for pricing. Typically, inspectors charge between $200 and $400 for an inspection, so feel free to shop around.

Inspectors are certified, so make sure whoever you choose has the proper licensure. You can search for inspectors in your area with this search function.

Ultimately, you’ll want to choose an inspector that can give you the most unbiased assessment of the home, so that you can be assured that you know what you’re getting into when you buy or sell a home.

Preparing for an inspection

Many buyers aren’t sure what to expect on inspection day. However, the process is relatively simple.

You’ll want to make sure the inspector can easily access workspaces (like around the furnace, circuit breakers, etc.). This will make the inspector’s job easier and allow them to focus on the service they’re providing you.

If possible, it’s also a good idea to provide them with records of important home maintenance and repairs. Inspectors know what red flags to look for with the home, both physically and on paper.

Finally, make sure pets, kids, and any other distractions are away from home or with someone who can attend to them.

Post inspection

After the inspection is complete, the inspector will hand you a report and be able to answer any questions you have about their findings. They will give recommendations about the timeline for repairs that need to be made soon or even years into the future.

With this report in hand, you can determine if there are repairs you want to negotiate with the seller if you’re buying a home. As a seller, this report will tip you off to issues that potential buyers will likely have and give you a chance to address them in advance.




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Posted by Thomas Murphy on 6/30/2019

Applying for a mortgage can be a lengthy and difficult process. Lenders want to know that they are going to get a return on their investment.

To ensure that they’ll see that positive return they will take a number of things into consideration, such as your income, credit score, employment history, and financial capital.

First-time homeowners often struggle when it comes to these prerequisites since they have fewer years of numbers for lenders to consider. If you’re one of those people, don’t worry--you can still purchase a home.

First-time homeowner loans, which are guaranteed by the U.S. government, and a number of private loans enable people to borrow money for a home without paying a huge down payment or having a vast credit history.

One downfall of said loans is private mortgage insurance, or “PMI.”

In this article, we’re going to talk about what private mortgage insurance is, how to avoid it, and how to get rid of it. 

What is PMI?

If you make a down payment on a mortgage that is less than 20% of the loan amount, you will most likely have to pay private mortgage insurance.

PMI exists as a way for lenders to help guarantee they won’t lose money off of your loan. If you make a down payment of 20% or more, then lenders are typically satisfied that they won’t lose money from doing business with you.

PMI is not to be confused with home insurance, which protects you against damage and theft. Rather, it is an additional fee you’ll pay to your lender each month that is added to your mortgage payment.

PMI is calculated based on a few considerations. Lenders will take into account your down payment amount, the value of the mortgage, and your credit score.

In terms of costs, PMI typically costs between .5 and 1% of the total mortgage amount each year.

Avoiding PMI

Naturally, it’s best to avoid paying private mortgage insurance altogether. Private mortgage insurance has no future value for you and your family since it doesn’t count towards building equity and doesn’t protect you from any potential financial harm (your lender is the sole beneficiary of PMI).

Saving for a down payment can take time, and sometimes you’ll need to rent or cut costs while you save. However, if you do take on a loan with PMI, you can still cancel it at a later point.

Canceling your private mortgage insurance

The first thing you should know about canceling PMI is that it usually isn’t easy. You’ll need pay off at least 20% of the home, write a letter to your lender, and wait for an appraisal of the home. Once you’ve done this, you still have to wait while your lender considers your request. In all, this process could take months--months that you’re still required to pay PMI.

Once common way to get out of PMI is to refinance. If the value of your home has increased since the time of you taking on the loan, the new lender likely won’t require PMI. However, you’ll want to make sure that refinancing will get you a lower interest rate and cover the costs of refinancing. 




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Posted by Thomas Murphy on 6/23/2019

Growing healthy herbs is an essential method of adding healthy nutrients to your diet, and also for staying fit. They are natural plant foods that provide antioxidants and vitamins. They add lots of subtle flavors or robust aroma to any dish. People grow herbs in their garden for several reasons: as a hobby, to save money, or for making healthy recipes. Fresh and healthy herbs make meals taste better and are also suitable for soups, stews, and salads. 

Grow fresh and healthy herbs anywhere—you have nothing to worry about if you don't have a garden. You can grow fresh herbs in a plant pot and place them near any window in your home. Make sure you keep your herbs where they can get at least six hours of sunlight every day. Be spontaneous when planting your herbs: don't plant only the herbs you know. Why not try something new, then you will be glad you did.

Examples of fresh herbs you can grow to include: Basil, Rosemary, Lemongrass, Mint, Coriander or Cilantro, Parsley, Bay leaves, Sage, Chives, Lavender, Thyme, Oregano, Stevia, and Chervil.

Benefits of growing healthy and Fresh herbs in your garden:

  1. They are always available: When you grow healthy herbs in your garden, you have them readily available for you anytime, and any day you need them. You don’t worry about the herbs you need to spice your dish because they are right inside your garden.
  2. They are healthful: Making use of the herbs you grow yourself is much healthier than buying the dried ones from the store. Some store-bought ones might not be organic herbs. All you need to do is to plant natural herbs.
  3. Including fresh herbs to your diet offers health benefits. It relieves stress. Attending and visiting your herb garden alone helps in relieving accumulated stress from your daily work. The fragrance and the view of your garden have a way of giving new energy. It's a form of exercise too. Tending to your herbs garden is an excellent way of exercising your muscles. Every action involved in gardening like digging, bending, and stretching helps in keeping you fit and contributes to weight loss.
  4. You’ll have more than enough: You can't fully utilize every one of the herbs you grow because you will have an abundance. With the extra herbs you have, give them out as a gift to colleagues, friends, family, and neighbors. Even the dried herbs are useful.
  5. It saves money and reduces stress: Buying fresh herbs from grocery stores can be very expensive. And sometimes it might be difficult to find a specific spice whenever you need it because the grocer doesn't carry it. Instead, grow the ones you need, so they're always available. 

If you want a full garden, talk to a real estate agent about properties near community gardens or with a large enough patio to add one.




Tags: gardening tips   herbs   lawn  
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Posted by Thomas Murphy on 6/16/2019

A smart home device may prove to be a great pick-up, regardless of the size or location of your house. Yet finding an affordable smart house gadget sometimes can be difficult. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to acquire economical smart home devices, such as:

1. Conduct an In-Depth Search for Budget-Friendly Smart Home Devices

A diligent shopper will have no trouble finding smart home devices that fall in line with their finances. In fact, they may be better equipped than other shoppers to quickly acquire high-quality, and cost-effective, smart house gadgets.

Of course, it often helps to check out smart home devices multiple manufacturers. This will allow you to weigh the pros and cons of different smart home gadgets. Plus, you can boost the likelihood of finding a smart home device that delivers a great combination of affordability and dependability.

2. Search for Smart Home Devices at Online and Brick-and-Mortar Retailers

Online retailers like Amazon sell a broad array of smart home gadgets – everything from smart light bulbs to smart robot vacuums. If you search for smart house devices online, you may find terrific gadgets at low prices.

Furthermore, brick-and-mortar retailers are available in cities and towns nationwide. These retailers hire friendly, knowledgeable sales representatives who can teach you everything you need to know about different smart home gadgets. Such as getting the assistance you need to find the right smart home device based on your budgetary and personal needs.

3. Keep an Eye Out for Deals

As new smart home device models become available, previous models may be offered at discounted rates. Thus, if you watch out for new smart home device releases, you may find the prices of past models will be lowered accordingly.

In addition, smart home device prices may be reduced in conjunction with various holiday promotions. If a retailer wants to boost its Christmas sales, for example, it may offer discounts on a wide range of smart house gadgets.

4. Purchase a Pre-Owned Smart Home Device

A pre-owned smart home device may work just as well as a brand-new model. At the same time, a pre-owned smart house gadget may be available at a fraction of the cost of a new model.

If you shop for pre-owned smart home devices, proceed with caution. Whenever possible, you should test a pre-owned smart home device before you buy it. Conversely, if you purchase a pre-owned smart house gadget from an online retailer, ensure that you can return the device if it does not work properly upon arrival.

Clearly, there are many things that you can do to purchase smart house devices without exceeding your budget. As you check out the smart home devices at your disposal, use the aforementioned tips. By doing so, you can find and buy affordable smart home devices that may serve you well for an extended period of time.




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